Alaska in Brief

Q&A with Alaska Senate District P candidate Scott Kawasaki

By: - July 28, 2022 12:59 am
The Senate chambers are seen at the Alaska State Capitol on Friday, May 13, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

The Senate chambers are seen at the Alaska State Capitol on Friday, May 13, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

The Alaska Beacon asked Alaska’s legislative candidates to answer a 15-question survey about their positions on a variety of issues. Read all of their responses here. Answers have not been edited.

Scott Kawasaki, Democratic candidate from Fairbanks

Yes/No questions

The Alaska Constitution allows legislators to call a constitutional convention at any time. Are you interested in calling a convention?


Would you be willing to join a coalition majority in which the opposite political party controls a majority of seats?


Should new public employees have access to a pension?


Should the state take over the federal permitting process that regulates construction in wetlands?


Should Juneteenth be a state holiday?


Open-ended questions

How should the state of Alaska set the amount of the Permanent Fund dividend each year?

What we have now, but a PFD should also be protected in the State Constitution.

What’s the biggest need in your district, and how would you address it?

Overall tenuous situation with our local economy due to diminished state funds that harm public education and UAF and rising costs for heating/gasoline and local taxes.

What policies and laws should Alaska follow with regard to abortion?

The decision in regards to an abortion should be between a woman and her physician.

How should the state reduce the threat of gun violence and mass shootings?

When federal money was available Alaska had done gun buyback programs which seemed to help. Fairbanks also lacks access to public health resources and police officers must have the tools that they need to reduce turnover.

How much should a legislator’s faith or religion determine state law and policy?

There is no doubt that faith plays a role in government but it should not be used to deprive people of their rights.

What should the state do to improve retention of public employees, including teachers?

We’ve heard is since the law passed to repeal Defined Benefits and that problem lingers with us today in just about every public sector employee opportunity.

What does an ideal state ferry system look like?

The ferry system is the ‘highway’ system for coastal Alaska. Further erosion to the frequency and quality of service is just as bad as a road closure on the Steese Highway. Many of the soldiers stationed at Ft Wainwright came up on the ferry or were denied access due to scheduling changes.

What, if any, changes does the state need to make to ensure voting is equitable and secure?

There were many good ideas taken up by the Senate and House this year and some of those should become law. Ballot curing, permanent absentee, electronic voting for those instate as well as overseas are among a few.

What do you intend to do about the poor returns of salmon in the Yukon and Kuskokwim drainages, and what are the main causes of the problems?

I served on the House Fisheries Committee when there were over 120K Chinook Salmon that used to be taken by factory trawling. With our congressional delegation we urged caps imposed by President Obama and Governor Gary Locke who was Commerce Secretary. These caps expired at the end of the term and the decline continues.

What constitutional amendments, if any, do you support?

I support a constitutional amendment to protect the PFD from future erosion.

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James Brooks
James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected].